January 27, 2009 | 9:28am
Owing to the laziness of Transportation Security Administration and Miami-Dade County Aviation Department bureacrats, a company with a lucrative venture at Miami International Airport won't be getting any competition anytime soon. For the past eight years, Secure Wrap
of Miami has held the exclusive rights to wrap luggage in a cellophane-like material that prevents unscrupulous baggage handlers from pilfering travelers' belongings. It's not a business model that requires a lot of rocket science, because prior to Secure Wrap winning the exclusive contract in 2001, the corporation had to share MIA with two other competitors. The company won its lucrative deal despite a bitterly contested competition
that featured an army of lobbyists on all sides doing their best to tweak county commissioners.
According to Secure Wrap's five-year agreement with the county, the firm pays Miami-Dade a percentage of its gross revenues. That deal is supposed to end this year, but despite pleas from Miami-Dade Inspector General Chris Mazzella, the TSA and the aviation department have no plans to put out a new bid for the baggage-wrapping services. Earlier this month, Mazzella notified the aviation department's director, Jose Abreu, that security measures the TSA placed on Secure Wrap so the company could still do business in the post-9/11 era does not justify letting the firm hold on to its business without competition. Since this past September, Mazzella has been exhorting aviation department officials to put Secure Wrap's contract up for grabs, to no avail.